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 Charles Joshua Chaplin?
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maxfrost
Junior Member

59 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2018 :  15:03:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Is this a bit of a stretch to label as “attributed to Charles Joshua Chaplin”? I thought it just looks like a copy.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CHARLES-CHAPLIN-1825-1891-FINE-FRENCH-OIL-GIRL-BLOWING-BUBBLES-to-122-000/372326818766

Edited by - maxfrost on Jun 17 2018 15:25:26

Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
123 Posts

Posted - Jun 17 2018 :  18:12:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Irrespective of anything to do with that particular painting, I wouldn't trust that seller (Leighton Fine Arts), as far as I could proverbially throw them! Most of their stuff is piled high straight out of auction, so some of it is relatively fine, but their descriptions are too often dreadfully deceptive. And they're less than honest about condition issues too, because they know recipients won't know the difference. Try asking them about something that is obviously not right, and they are incredibly unpleasant. But worse is that between the relatively ok things are the out and out fakes and fake attributions and added signatures, to effect.


And with regard to that particular painting, it's a relatively well known image, so the chances of it being an original Chaplin are pretty low. And he was much copied. Still a pretty picture, but it's been torn, which can't have happened while laid to that panel, and the surrounds at the back have all been taped over to hide all visible evidence of the canvas. It makes no sense to have done that, when the painting's been left unrestored otherwise. It's been reduced a little in size too, which would have hurt it's value as an original. It does look like it has some fair age, but I'm suspecting it's not quite old enough to have been a contemporaneous copy.

Were you actually considering buying it or just asking about it for the sake of it?

Edited by - Job on Jun 19 2018 11:21:25
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maxfrost
Junior Member

59 Posts

Posted - Jun 18 2018 :  19:50:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No I wasn't interested in purchasing it but was genuinely curious since he seems to insist it's authentic and I didn't assume so.

It seems you've done business with them before?
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Job
Junior Member

United Kingdom
123 Posts

Posted - Jun 19 2018 :  11:16:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've only actually bought from them once but that's not been my only experience with them. And I wouldn't now have anything to do with them again on principle, even though I know someone who bought something very nice from them. Their descriptions are untrustworthy and they're not honest re condition issues and they're really, REALLY, unpleasant! Inbetween the ok things are also complete fakes, repainted old canvasses and completely false attributions supported by fake added signatures, to effect. They do it quite cleverly, in that they vary the stories told, but they are shysters!

Re what I bought, I had previously asked a couple of questions and had been disconcerted by the completely unnecessary aggression received in reply, but then I saw a rather nice little portrait being sold as signed and by a very well listed artist in what was claimed to be its original and carved frame. I was suspicious of the attribution, but the artist isn't known for portraits so wasn't absolutely certain it was wrong. I was certain it wasn't the original frame, though, because it had clearly been cut down and I could see it wasn't carved either. What I couldn't quite see was whether it was the original gilding, which still made a difference, so braved the message facility again to ask that question. And I was responded to by their rudely attacking and insulting me for apparently not being able to read their listing re the original carved frame, as stated (and they really were more unpleasantly rude and derogatory than the previous indicates). The listing hadn't actually mentioned the gilding, though, and they still didn't even confirm it. But fool that I was, I bought the portrait anyway. I liked it. It was more expensive than it should have been but it is a nice little portrait. It just isn't what they claimed it to be. Apart from the frame not being carved and not being original, as repeatedly claimed, the false attribution was also immediately apparent without having to even research it, because they hadn't even bothered to varnish over the fake added signature. I didn't even need to put a light to it, it was sitting on top of the old varnish and was so fresh it just wiped away with white spirit!

I still really liked the portrait, so I kept it anyway, but the negative feedback I left was deleted. So they get to continue because warnings aren't even allowed to exist. For a while after that, I looked at what they were doing more closely, and it became very clear how deceptive many of their listings are and that the fake added and replaced signatures are standard practice. They are also palming off some complete fakes, as well as the false attributions. And that's the other area I had experience of with them, re a painting I'd previously returned to Bonham's as a fake, which I'd even (shamefully) had to get a certificate from the artist's authority for before getting a refund. It couldn't have been more proven "wrong"! But Leighton Fine Arts didn't just sell that particular fake on Ebay instead, having had it returned to them, but they then sold similar others too. And all actively supported by the claimed fantastic provenance (sic!) of having come from the same wonderful "private collection" source.


Edited by - Job on Jun 19 2018 11:59:20
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maxfrost
Junior Member

59 Posts

Posted - Jun 19 2018 :  12:28:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the detailed background info on your experiences. I do wonder how they are able to remove negative feedback so easily. I've seen multiple instances; one buyer just left 2 the other day. It was removed within 24 hours or less.
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